Ever since W. L. Gore & Associates was founded by Bob and Vieve Gore, treating people fairly and caring for the environment have been integral parts of the Gore culture.
Today, sustainability remains a top priority for Gore’s Fabrics Division. As a technology driven and innovative company, and one that has unique expertise in processing fluorinated materials, Gore Fabrics always strives to deliver outdoor products with the optimal combination of performance and sustainability.
The invention of expanded PTFE in 1969 enabled Gore to make waterproof, windproof and breathable products that protect people from harsh weather conditions, using fluorine-based materials safely and responsibly. At the same time, Gore has always been striving to protect the environment from unnecessary harm by continuously reducing the impact that GORE-TEX garments may have on the environment over their entire lifespan – also known as “environmental footprint.”
As one of its key initiatives in improving this footprint, in 2017 Gore set the ambitious goal of eliminating socalled “PFCs of Environmental Concern (PFCEC)” from all GORE-TEX consumer laminate shipments to customers in a step-by-step approach. This goal, due to be fully completed by the end of 2023, includes eliminating PFCEC from the entire product life-cycle of GORE-TEX membranes as well as from its durable water- and oil-repellent treatments.
New PFCec-free DWR introduced
Many GORE-TEX products are treated with an ultra-thin durable water repellency (DWR), a polymer that’s applied to the outermost fabric layer of the garments. This DWR reduces the surface tension of the fabric, so that water simply rolls off. The DWR is very important, because the wearer can feel damp and clammy if water saturates the garment’s outer fabric layer – even if the product isn’t leaking.
As the first key milestone achieved on its PFCEC-free roadmap, in early 2018 Gore presented the first GORE-TEX laminates with a new high-performance DWR, that for the first time is free of PFCEC. As per today, PFCEC has also been eliminated from about 50% of Gore´s consumer laminates, so consumers can already choose from a variety of jackets and other outdoor gear manufactured with PFCEC-free GORE-TEX 2-layer or 3-layer laminates, utilizing the new PFCEC-free DWR – and certainly fulfilling Gore’s GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY™ promise.
With these innovative GORE-TEX products, Gore continues its journey of developing fit-for-use performance fabrics that improve the environmental footprint of outdoor apparel while meeting the customers’ expectations regarding durable comfort and protection.
The GORE-TEX garments with the new PFCEC-free DWR are approved by Bluesign systems, meet the criteria set forth in the Oeko-Tex Standard 100, and deliver the right level of durable protection and comfort for a wide range of urban and general outdoor activities. These range from camping, day-hiking and adventure traveling to golfing, skiing, and other sporting activities. This way, GORE-TEX products always allow consumer to make a conscious choice.
Recycled polyester backer
The new GORE-TEX garments add even more points to their environmental scorecard: In addition to the new PFCEC Free DWR of their face fabric, they also come with a polyester backer made from recycled and solution dyed materials. This helps save natural resources and avoid waste, because roughly 4,000 recycled plastic bottles are used to make 1,000 meters of this new backer textile. And through the use of the new solution dyeing-technology, up to 90 % water is saved, much fewer chemicals are used and CO2 emissions are significantly reduced compared to conventional jet dying, according to the Higg Material Sustainability Index.